Mapping Segregation Walking Tour

Last Date:

Northwest corner of Florida Avenue and 6th Street, NW
LeDroit Park Arch

Historian Sarah Shoenfeld, co-director of the online public history project Mapping Segregation in Washington DC, will lead a walking tour of DC’s adjacent LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale neighborhoods. Established as an exclusive, gated suburb in 1871, African Americans began moving to LeDroit Park in the 1890s, during the same period Bloomingdale began to be developed as an exclusively white neighborhood. The tour will look at LeDroit Park’s eclectic Victorian homes and discuss some of the noted African American intellectuals and activists who lived in the neighborhood, many drawn by nearby Howard University. In Bloomingdale, racially restrictive deed covenants kept much of the neighborhood off-limits to African Americans until the 1940s. Noted civil rights attorney Charles Houston, who later became known as the architect of Brown v. Board of Education, waged numerous legal battles in Bloomingdale to abolish racial covenants. Hurd v. Hodge, one of the Bloomingdale cases Houston litigated, contributed to the Supreme Court’s landmark 1948 ruling that racial covenants were legally unenforceable. The tour will look at some of the houses that were being contested, and the shifting geographical lines that divided African Americans from whites in this area over the first half of the 20th century.